Submitted to: Plant Disease
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/11/2021
Publication Date: 4/21/2022
Citation: Kantor, M., Handoo, Z.A., Carta, L.K., Li, S. 2022. First report of beech leaf disease, caused by Litylenchus crenatae mccannii, on American beech (Fagus grandifolia) in Virginia. Plant Disease. 106(6):1764. https://doi.org/10.1094/PDIS-08-21-1713-PDN.
Interpretive Summary: A new invasive disease of American beech trees in eastern North America known as beech leaf disease (BLD) causes dark green and yellow stripes in leaves, canopy thinning and sometimes tree mortality within seven years of detection. It is caused by a microscopic, parasitic roundworm, or nematode, new to North America, that was discovered in diseased leaf tissue and buds. Since its 2012 discovery near Lake Erie, it has spread primarily eastward to the Atlantic Ocean and up through Maine. Tracking its spread is important to understand and manage the disease. Scientists from the USDA Agricultural Research Service characterized nematodes from a newly detected site of the disease in Manassas, Virginia. They compared the nematode morphology and a DNA marker (ITS segment of ribosomal DNA) with the original population from Ohio for identification. These results are significant because this is the southern-most detection of BLD to date. This information will be used by foresters, ecologists, and plant pathologists surveying the disease to understand its transmission and control.
Technical Abstract: The invasive, foliar plant-parasitic nematode Litylenchus crenatae mccannii responsible for beech leaf disease (BLD) was discovered within American beech (Fagus grandifolia) leaves in the Prince William National Forest in Manassas for the first time in the state of Virginia. Disease identity was verified through striped leaf symptoms, nematode morphology and ITS rDNA molecular marker. Since BLD discovery in Ohio in 2012, other localities in North America include Ontario, Canada, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and West Virginia. This new detection in inland VA is the most southern locality for BLD so far. This information will be used by foresters, ecologists, and plant pathologists surveying the disease to better understand its transmission and control.